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Who do you think you are Ed Balls

(47 Posts)
Allsorts Wed 01-Dec-21 08:07:31

I always watch this programme, but last nights I found hard, I wouldn’t have wanted to shown if they were my ancestors. I couldn’t listen to the grimmer bits. In reflection I wish I hadn’t seen it.

Petera Wed 01-Dec-21 08:19:00

I've only watched this once (Judi Dench) but in that case they went back to the 16th century and the number of possible ancestors to look at if you go back that far is easily in the 10s of thousands. Some are going to be great and others grim.

Coastpath Wed 01-Dec-21 10:10:48

I've taped this to watch this evening. I might not watch it now if it's too grim. I'll do a bit of research first. Thanks for the tip off.

Alegrias1 Wed 01-Dec-21 10:15:30

I guess we're talking about the ancestor who was a naval medic?

I didn't find it too grim, it was just a reflection of the times and Ed's response to it was spot on, I thought.

I'm trying to not give anything away for people who haven't seen it yet!

luluaugust Wed 01-Dec-21 10:17:07

It was obvious he had no idea what was coming, he wasn't quite sure how to react to some of it. Worth a watch I thought.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 01-Dec-21 10:17:08

It’s not grim, it just shows how bad agricultural workers’ conditions and the penal system were many years ago. Something we all know surely, and don’t we owe it to our ancestors to acknowledge their hardships rather than put our fingers in our ears? I enjoyed the programme, always enjoy seeing Ed.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 01-Dec-21 10:19:21

Yes he did have a rather pervy ancestor too but I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it yet.

Calistemon Wed 01-Dec-21 10:24:51

I thought it was very good. Times were different then and I thought the story of the Ag Lab was good too.

One of my Gx?grandfathers got six months in prison for receiving part of a sheep, probably he was just trying to feed his family.
Another was a naval surgeon, he has a ward named after him at a hospital in England.

We can't choose our ancestors.

I presume they researched a lot of his ancestors but chose the most interesting ones.

Urmstongran Wed 01-Dec-21 10:29:09

You’ve piqued my interest! I may watch it on catch up later now. I don’t usually bother. Some of the ‘luvvies’ seemed to continue ‘acting’ when disclosures were made and I found it irritating.

Whitewavemark2 Wed 01-Dec-21 10:35:47

One if mine got transportation for being caught with a rabbit. He had 6 children and unemployed. He was sent to Australia for 7 years, and never had enough money to afford to return to his family. He never remarried and the obituary after his death described a kind chap who was a pillar in the community always ready to help.

Evil times.

Grandma70s Wed 01-Dec-21 10:37:12

I like Ed Balls, but I did find this programme quite depressing. I wasn’t expecting that. Interesting, though.

VANECAM Wed 01-Dec-21 10:42:27

Very good programme with in-depth research which once again provided evidence of why we should be grateful at how much life in the UK has changed.

The revelations that Ed had to deal with on camera were pretty awful.

Casdon Wed 01-Dec-21 10:42:49

If you watch it regularly, there are uncomfortable points in nearly every programme, the vast majority of people have skeletons in their ancestral closets. I enjoyed it, it brings history to life when you can put people’s ancestors into real life situations - and I thought he handled both the good and bad pretty well.

Alegrias1 Wed 01-Dec-21 11:02:16

Bit off topic, but did anyone see Mark Bonnar (Duncan in Shetland) on BBC Scotland last night going back to the town where he lived when he was young? He was looking at the house where he grew up and said "Is this going to be one of those programs with famous people crying in libraries?" smile

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 01-Dec-21 11:07:11

No. I read a really interesting piece about Mark and his father in last Sunday’s Sunday Times magazine. It mentioned the programme, which I hope will be repeated in England. Always enjoy watching him. An unconventional background!

Anniebach Wed 01-Dec-21 11:08:26

When I found one of my g g grandmothers had registered the
deaths of two small grandchildren in the same week , I cried.

Alegrias1 Wed 01-Dec-21 11:10:00


No. I read a really interesting piece about Mark and his father in last Sunday’s Sunday Times magazine. It mentioned the programme, which I hope will be repeated in England. Always enjoy watching him. An unconventional background!

It was a very weird program, GSM, but interesting, and it made us laugh!

Sorry, I have derailed the thread.

ayse Wed 01-Dec-21 11:10:37

I enjoyed Ed Balls last night. Some of my ancestors were agricultural labourers in Suffolk at the same time. WDYTYA is one of my favourites even if I’m not too keen on the celebrity.

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 01-Dec-21 11:14:43

Same here ayse but mine were in Essex. I always try to look behind the celebrity if it’s someone I don’t like, as they’re only on the programme because the researchers have found something interesting.

Chardy Wed 01-Dec-21 11:49:04

It was very different from almost every other WDYTYA, and I've watched most. A little gravitas compared with some of the fluffier ones there have been.

mokryna Wed 01-Dec-21 12:27:07

I enjoyed the Ed Balls WDYTYA program last night. You can’t chose your ancestors.

Kali2 Wed 01-Dec-21 12:33:08

Exactly mokryna- the programme had to tell the truth, the grim reality. They can't pick and choose only the nice bits- history does not work like that.

I felt sorry for him as he had no idea that what he would find would be so traumatic- he is such a nice guy and so 'human'.

Katie59 Wed 01-Dec-21 12:54:06

Different times, different people, many Australians are proud that their ancestors been transported and survived.

When to comes to dodgy ancestors Trump is probably one of the most notable, his Grandfather made the family fortune running brothels in the California goldfields, in his case the “dodgy” trait persisted.

BlueBelle Wed 01-Dec-21 14:43:53

I didn’t find it grim at all it s life so he had an ancestor that was good/bad, so what !! We have no knowledge and nor does Ed Balls as to what led to it or how bad it was
Goodness me life ain’t fluffy for most
To say you aren’t going to watch it because of that five minute content, (there was nothing to see) my goodness you must have lived under a rainbow most of your life

I found an ancestor who went to prison for looking after her daughters ( born out of wedlock) daughter (also born out of wedlock) and basically was so poor she could only fed it bread mixed with water and so it didn’t thrive and she was charged with killing an infant
I doubt anyone has a flawless ancestry line
Don’t be put off anyone who hasn’t watched it it was a very interesting programme
Thank goodness they don’t only show fluffy lives

jaylucy Wed 01-Dec-21 14:49:20

With so many of the family trees revealing ancestors that were royalty or at least a member of the aristocracy and at the worst, transported to Australia for stealing something negligible, it was certainly different!